by Caryl Moll
In a few days, Christmas week and all its fanfare will descend upon us all. I anticipate that for some folk it will be preceded by the usual shopping hysteria – endless gifting, decorations, redundant “Christmas Carols” and extremely tired feet. Not to mention the accompanying mental fatigue. We shouldn’t be surprised to find ‘exhaustion’ in its wake.
In my younger days, I was confused by this “Humbug” of Christmas – the brimming stores, the incurred debt and endless parties? It was hard to see Jesus in all of it. It felt totally farcical. I imagine that some people can be confused like I was. Whether we enjoy the fanfare or not is not the issue. The real question is ‘What does Christmas really mean to us?” Is it about Christ or not?
I am aware that many, many people battle with loneliness and depression during the Christmas season. I am one of them. Even though I am enormously blessed to have my family around, I miss my childhood family, the old farm and friends who have gone by the wayside. There are so many cherished memories. It’s easy to fall into the trap of allowing these to continually replay in our minds and let ourselves fall into the darkness
In addition, I am personally not entirely comfortable with receiving gifts – for me, gifts are just a reminder that we don’t need all this ‘stuff’ and that we can do with so much less. After all, Jesus’s gift should be enough, shouldn’t it?
Please don’t be too alarmed. My reticence isn’t without hope. What Christmas means to me personally is embraced in two little songs. Let me explain…
Some years ago, when my children were in primary school, I was confronted by the real meaning of Christmas. The realisation hit me so hard at the time that I breathed it in and allowed it to really filter into my soul. Yes, it happened during the primary school’s annual ‘Carols by candlelight’ performance where I had volunteered to play the piano for the choir.
In this post, I’d like to give a shout-out to our own, dear Sandy Mol who was the music teacher at the time. What an amazing lady! She has a heart for Christmas all year round and imparts this to her pupils. At the end of each year, Sandy would put on a spectacular performance with the kids. It was a truly inspirational effort as us parents were allowed to listen to our children’s message. But when I was asked to help out with playing the piano, it became something entirely different. I was a nervous wreck. I familiarised myself with the songs and fervently committed myself to the task – practising for hours on end in the hope of stilling my nerves. It was the only way I knew how so that I would be able to help her out.
There were two songs, in particular, which I really fell in love with… so much so that I still play them every year on my own Clavinova at home. At the time, they brought my focus back to the real meaning of Christmas and settled my nerves. I absolutely love them and my family get to hear them endlessly. It’s the simplicity of their message that is so poignant. Their melodies sing in my heart as their words find permanent place.
Please allow me to share these two songs and some of their words…
- The first one is: Christmas isn’t Christmas (by Jimmy and Carol Owens)
The words go like this: “Christmas isn’t Christmas till it happens in your heart’
… Somewhere, deep inside you is where Christmas really starts. So give you heart to Jesus; you’ll discover when you do that it’s Christmas, really Christmas …for you!
Isn’t this so true? Christmas can’t ever be “Christmas” unless there is a change in our hearts. Think about it…
- The second song is “Christmas is a time for LOVE” (by Ernie Rettino and Debby Kerner.) This song encourages us all to put everything else aside and concentrate on what the world really needs – LOVE!
Yes, LOVE encourages us to be patient, kind, compassionate, self-controlled and generous. Love is a concept that encourages the same reconciliation that we receive from our Lord Jesus Christ. He reconciled us to himself with his gift on the cross. It was a gift of the ultimate love. We really need His help in gifting this same LOVE to our world. Yes, we can make a difference in the lives of those around us. It doesn’t have to be big – we just have to practice the ultimate gift – LOVE!
Wishing you, dear reader, a ‘heart-felt’ Christmas filled with LOVE. Let’s make a difference in our struggling world…
With love, in Christ